Chayamukhi – Mohiniyattam by Gopika Varma & Nrityaganga- Innovation birthed from the Churning of Tradition – Bharatanatyam by Sucheta Chapekar and Kalavardhini Dance Company.
The plot starts with Hidimbi, married to Bhima, procuring a magic mirror from the Gandharvas which reflected what the heart of the one looking into it desired and nurtured. Passing the mirror on to Bhima, her beloved husband, she had him look into it, fully expecting that her face would be reflected as the loved one. Shocked and deeply wounded when she saw the face of Draupadi instead, Hidimbi became the faceless one wandering aimlessly. Meanwhile, Bhima thought of passing on the mirror to Draupadi. His mind could not help wondering with some trepidation about Draupadi’s heart—if it was really sold out to Arjuna, the Pandava prince who won her in the swayamvara. Thinking of everything he had done for Draupadi, he felt that no other man could be so close to her heart. When Bhima passes the mirror to Draupadi, she insists on looking into it in private. Whose face does she see?
Gopika Varma is a Kerala born Mohiniyattam dancer and dance teacher who is settled in Chennai.. She received several awards including Sangeet Natak Akademi Award and Kalaimamani.
Traditional Indian dance speaks three languages simultaneously: the language of lyrics, of music and the non-verbal technical language of dance. If the audience is not familiar with either, the dance doesn’t reach the inner core of the mind and it is taken only at its entertainment value. To transmit the inner beauty of the body language of Bharatanatyam to the hearts of a North Indian audience, the idea of Nrityaganga was born. Without using translation or transliteration, a parallel system of Bharatanatyam is created in Hindustani classical music compositions creating their new editions not by adaptation but by synthesis, by ‘Sanskaram’. Apart from preservation, the tradition is also perpetuation and progression and Nrityaganga is the churning of all these.
Sucheta Bhide Chapekar is an Indian classical dancer and choreographer. She is an exponent of Bharatanatyam. She is the founder of “Kalavardhini”, a trust supporting the teaching and propagation activities in classical dance, where she also teaches Bharatnatayam. She is also a recipient of the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award.
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